Exotis ISSN 2398-2985

Ferrets

Skin abscess

Contributor(s): Cathy Johnson-Delaney, David Perpinan

Introduction

  • An infection of the skin often starts with a wound acquired during rough play.
  • Abscesses also can form at any place of skin puncture or damage.
  • There may be accompanying pyoderma Pyoderma or cellulitis.
  • Cause: bite wound, trauma.
  • Signs: the area is usually fluctuant, swollen, and may be painful to touch.
  • Diagnosis: culture, biopsy, histopathology.
  • Treatment: lancing, draining, systemic antimicrobials, NSAIDs, topical antimicrobial cream.
  • Prognosis: good.
Print off the Owner Factsheet on Abscesses to give to your clients.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Bacterial infection may set in where there is skin damage; as the body walls it off, an abscess forms.
  • Bacteria isolated from ferret abscesses are most frequently Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus spp.
  • Infection can also be caused by Corynebacterium spp, Pasteurella spp, Actinomyces spp and E. coli.
  • Frequently small punctures and lacerations occur primarily in the ear and neck area where ferrets tend to bite each other, usually during play.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Entire males are predisposed to fight and skin wounds.

Specific

  • Ferrets used for hunting rabbits (“ferreting”) are predisposed to suffer from rabbit bites, although rabbits usually escape from the burrow when they detect a ferret.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Palmeiro B S & Roberts H (2013) Clinical approach to dermatologic disease in exotic animals. Vet Clin North Am Exotic Pract 16 (3), 523-577 PubMed.
  • Hoppman E & Baron H W (2007) Ferret and rabbit dermatology. J Exotic Pet Med 16 (4), 225-237 VetMedResource.

Other sources of information

  • Orcutt C & Tater K (2012) Dermatologic Diseases. In: Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents, Clinical Medicine and Surgery. 3rd edn. Eds: Quesenberry K E & Carpenter J W. Elsevier, St. Louis, MO, USA. pp 122-131.
  • Paterson S (2006) Skin Diseases and Treatment of Ferrets. In: Skin Diseases of Exotic Pets. Ed: Paterson S. Blackwell Science Ltd, Oxford, UK. pp 204-220.


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